Strategy is...?

Strategy is not taking historical sales figures and projecting them into the future.

Strategy is...?
Photo by Daniel Cartin / Unsplash

Lots of companies host strategy workshops, but strangely not many of them are actually creating useful strategies.

One of the reasons for this is that so many company leaders don't actually understand what strategy is or what the real purpose of the exercise is.

First, what isn't strategy?

  • Strategy is not taking historical sales figures and projecting them into the future.
  • Strategy is not putting together a long wish list of things you really ought to get right to improve your business and sharing them with other departments.
  • Strategy is not about documented a list of nonsense statements about wanting to be, 'the #1 rated bank in the US' for example.

No - none of these things should be considered to be a strategy.

Strategy is about informed judgments and decision-making when presented with a number of options, that influence the actions and trajectory of probability towards a preferable future of a company.

Purpose of strategy

The purpose of strategy is to find, choose and act on those key leverage points of high impact, to either deliver the vision / version / position of the company 'as it should be' in the near future; or 'as it could be' in the longer-term future.

Metrics

Rolling out strategy also requires accurate measurement of progress so that you know whether or not you are making good headway towards your envisioned future destination or not. Without the feedback, you're never going to know whether or not you are moving in a new, desired direction. Without a sense of momentum - people lose interest and things inevitably fall apart.

No facts

Strategy only bears fruit in the future, which means that judgments and decisions about the future need to be made with limited facts (because there are no facts about the future). Nobody has an accurate map of the future that you can use to navigate your way around.

Most other business functions rely heavily on factual information; unlike strategy. That's why business leaders tend to default to trying to do strategy without acknowledging that good strategy work requires a very different kind of thinking and skillset.

Strategy is about making choices. Once a choice has been made it's also about committing to those choices, but adjusting and reassessing as more facts come to light along the journey.


Clarify your strategic intent

Over the years, Jonathan Cherry has consulted with numerous organisations helping them clearly define their strategic intent and strategy map for accelerated business growth and resilience in uncertain times.

If you need a facilitator to take you through this process for your organisation, please get in touch here to chat with Jon.